Unclear if Paul McCartney regained rights over Beatles’ songs

NEW YORK, 1 July 2017:

Paul McCartney has reached a confidential settlement of his lawsuit against Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC in which he sought to reclaim copyrights to songs by the Beatles.

The accord disclosed on Thursday in filings with the US District Court in Manhattan ends the 75-year-old McCartney’s pre-emptive effort to ensure that the copyrights – once owned by the late Michael Jackson – would go to him starting in October 2018.

It is unclear how the accord affects McCartney’s copyright claims. The singer’s representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

US district judge Edgardo Ramos signed an order dismissing the case, but agreed to revisit it if a dispute arose.

The dismissal request had been made by Michael Jacobs, a lawyer for McCartney, on behalf of the singer and Sony/ATV.

McCartney had sued on Jan 18 for a declaration that he could reclaim more than 260 copyrights, including for songs credited to him and John Lennon such as I Want to Hold Your Hand, Yesterday and Hey Jude.

The registrations at issue also covered Maybe I’m Amazed and several other songs McCartney recorded as a solo artist.

They even covered such titles as Scrambled Egg, which is close to the working lyric Scrambled Eggs that McCartney once used for the song that became Yesterday.

McCartney had been outbid by Jackson in 1985 for the Beatles’ song rights, which were later rolled into Sony/ATV, a joint venture with Sony Corp. The pop star’s estate sold its stake in that venture to Sony for US$750 million last year.

McCartney sued 1½ months after a British court said the pop group Duran Duran could not reclaim rights to their songs – in its case against Sony/ATV’s Gloucester Place Music unit.

Changes made in 1976 to US copyright law let authors like McCartney reclaim song rights after periods of time elapsed.

In his lawsuit, McCartney said he could begin exercising his rights on Beatles songs, starting with Love Me Do, on 5 Oct 2018.

– Reuters

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